For the vast majority, operating in survival mode has become somewhat normal over the past 18 months.
In addition to health concerns amidst a global pandemic, changes to the way we live and work have tested even the most resilient of people – leading to high levels of stress, burnout and depression.
The holiday period and start of a new year will provide much needed down time, and a chance to re-assess our lives and goals…if we take the opportunity.
While many of us have a tendency to fill the Christmas period with activities, giving yourself permission to take a day or two for reflection could make all the difference between “making it through” 2022, or creating a year filled with purpose and meaning.
Moving beyond unintentional activities
Even without a pandemic to worry about, it’s natural to be pulled off course from your ideal life for a couple of days or even weeks. But if this continues unexamined, you could wind up looking back 10 years and realising that it wasn’t how you wanted it to be at all.
For some, COVID events have acted as a catalyst to look at what’s working and what’s not working in their lives. For example, we’re being told of a “Great Resignation”, where millions of workers have resigned or will resign from their jobs in the near future.
We also know young people are walking into the workforce with very different views than previous generations. More than a pay cheque, studies tell us they’re seeking meaning, purpose, and flexibility in their work. Instead of one job and one career, they’re proving that change is possible and even necessary to reach your full potential.
Perhaps you prioritised your own set of values before the pandemic and, on reflection, find they no longer align with who you are or how you want to be.
There is no right or wrong. But when you make a conscious internal choice about what to prioritise in life, it provides a valuable foundation for decision making and intentional action.
After all, we continually review business activities to make sure they align with organisational values and goals at work. Why should we be any different at home?
Affirming important values
Self-reflection is a key aspect of emotional intelligence, and a soft skill everyone can improve on. Even if it makes you feel vulnerable, Christmas is a great time to try it because you can create the necessary space away from “doing” which is essential for deep introspection.
Here is an activity from the team at Greater Good In Action to get you started…
Time to complete: 15 minutes
How to do it
1. Rank the following 11 values in order of their importance to you:
- Artistic skills/aesthetic appreciation
- Sense of humour
- Relations with friends/family
- Spontaneity/living life in the moment
- Social skills
- Musical ability/appreciation
- Physical attractiveness
- Business/managerial skills
- Romantic values
2. Write a brief statement (1 to 3 paragraphs) of why your #1 value or quality is most important to you. Include a time when it played an important role in your life.
You might find that what you unearth truly changes your life.